Breakups can be brutal. Regardless of whether you were the one who ended things or you were on the other end of things, breaking up with someone you cared for deeply can be one of the most painful experiences in life. More often than not, after a breakup, people are left feeling angry, lonely, and like things will never be the same.
There are plenty of helpful strategies to help you after a breakup, and there are plenty of things not to do.
Here’s 10 Things not to do after a breakup
1. Don’t beg for another chance
Chances are if you got dumped, you want a second chance. That’s only natural after a breakup. But begging for him/her to take you back is not the way to go. Examine your motivation. Do you miss the idea of having a partner or do you miss them? Both are very different. Also, begging will likely only result in feelings of low self-worth – especially if it doesn’t work.
2. Get off of social media
This a recommendation I make in general. However after a breakup, never is it more important. The last thing you need is to see pictures of your ex having a great time at the bar with the arms of good looking dudes draped around her.
3. Revenge is a dish best not served
It’s natural to feel a desire to try to get back at your ex – especially if they wronged you. However, in the end it will only make you look small and weak. Ask yourself, “Is revenge consistent with who I want to be? How will this is end up serving me in the future?” Chances are that will revenge will just end up leaving you feeling shame and remorse.
4. Don’t date or (or marry) the first one to come along
It’s natural to want to replace the last one as fast as possible. However, it’s a good idea to stay single for a while to ensure that your next relationship is not based on impulsiveness and doomed for another painful breakup. Take some time to process what happened and reflect on how you can learn and grow from this experience.
5. Don’t catastrophize
Breakups are painful. But they’re not the end of the world. Even though things feel brutal after a breakup, don’t let the intensity of your emotions make you start doubting yourself. Words like “always” and “forever” and “never” are powerful and tremendously unhelpful and almost always never true! ????
6. Don’t share his/her dirty secrets
Bad mouthing your ex only makes one person look bad, you. Even though you’re hurting, and even though they may have hurt you, be the bigger person and keep your mouth shut after a breakup. If you really do need to confide in someone, find an awesome therapist or life coach you like and trust to help you navigate your feelings.
7. Alone is oK, isolating is not
It’s easy to stay home and wallow in self-pity while checking your phone every 30 seconds hoping she texts saying she misses you. However, the worst thing you can do is to turn down social invites and stay home ruminating and obsessing. Get off your ass and go spend time with friends family – no matter how much you don’t want to.
8. Don’t turn to substances for support
Having a cocktail or two is not the end of the world. However, using it as a coping mechanism to deal with your emotions is only kicking the can further down the road and creating another, bigger problem you’re going to have to eventually deal with.
9. Don’t idealize your ex
It’s a natural reaction to put your ex on a pedestal after a breakup thinking they were the best thing that ever walked the face of the earth. But trust me, they aren’t perfect (and neither are you). Hyper-focusing on their good qualities while ignoring the negative ones will only reinforce the irrational belief that you’ll never find another one like them again!
10. Don’t make any major life changes
It might be tempting to hop on a plane, quit your job, or uproot your life entirely after a breakup. However, moves like this are often attempts to distract yourself. Eventually you will have to deal with the pain. Sooner the better.
Breakups are tough and life is short. Don’t fall into these traps thinking they will solve things – they won’t. If you’re struggling to get over a breakup, find an awesome therapist or life coach you like and trust to help you make sense of your pain and create a plan to move forward.
James Killian, LPC is the Principal Therapist & Owner of Arcadian Counseling in New Haven, CT where they specialize in helping over-thinkers, high achievers, and perfectionists reduce stress, increase fulfillment and enhance performance so they can move From Surviving To Thriving.